Essay Guides

What Is an IB Extended Essay and How to Write It?

Worried about writing a unique paper?

Use our free
Readability checker

The IB extended essay is a paper of up to 4,000 words that is required for students enrolled in the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma program. The extended essay allows students to engage in independent research on a topic within one of the available subject areas.

The extended essay should be an original piece of academic writing that demonstrates the following student's abilities:

  • Formulating a research question
  • Conductig independent investigation
  • Presenting key findings in a scholarly format.

Check out this article by StudyCrumb to discover how to write an IB extendend essay properly. We will give you a complete writing guide and critical tips you need for this essay type.

IB Extended Essay: What Is It?

An extended essay is independent research. Usually students choose a topic in consultation with a mentor. It is an integral part of the International Baccalaureate (IB) degree program. This means that you won't receive a degree without a successfully written paper. It requires 4,000-word study on a chosen narrow topic. To get a high score, you should meet all required structure and formatting standards. This is the result of approximately 40 working hours. Its purpose is giving you the opportunity to try independent research writing. It's approved that these skills are critical for student success at university. The following sections explain how to write an extended article with examples. So keep reading!  

Choosing a Mentor for Extended Essay

IB extended essay guidelines require supervisor meetings, totaling 3-5 hours. They include three critical reflections. A mentor won't write a paper instead of you but can help adjust it. So it is important to consult with them, but no one will proofread or correct actual research for you. In general, initially treat an essay as an exclusively individual work. So your role and contribution are maximal.

Extended Essay Outline

Let's take a look at how to write an extended essay outline. In this part, you organize yourself so that your work develops your idea. So we especially recommend you work out this step with your teacher. You can also find any outline example for essay.

In your short sketch, plan a roadmap for your thoughts. Think through and prepare a summary of each paragraph. Then, expand annotation of each section with a couple more supporting evidence. Explain how specific examples illustrate key points. Make it more significant by using different opinions on general issues.  

Extended Essay: Getting Started

After you chose an extended essay topic and made an outline, it's time to start your research. Start with a complete Table of Contents and make a choice of a research question. Select the subject in which you feel most confident and which is most interesting for you. For example, if at school you are interested in natural science, focus on that. If you have difficulties choosing a research question, rely on our essay topic generator.

Extended Essay Introduction

In the introduction of an extended essay, present a thesis statement. But do it in such a way that your readers understand the importance of your research. State research question clearly. That is the central question that you are trying to answer while writing. Even your score depends on how you develop your particular research question. Therefore, it is essential to draw it up correctly.

Gather all relevant information from relevant sources. Explain why this is worth exploring. Then provide a research plan, which you will disclose further.  

Extended Essay Methodology

In accordance with extended essay guidelines, it's mandatory to choose and clearly state a methodological approach. So, it will be apparent to your examiner how you answered your research question. Include your collection methods and tools you use for collection and analysis. Your strategies can be experimental or descriptive, quantitative or qualitative. Research collection tools include observations, questionnaires, interviews, or background knowledge.

Extended Essay Main Body

Well, here we come to the most voluminous part of the extended essay for IB! In every essay body paragraph, you reveal your research question and discuss your topic. Provide all details of your academic study. But stay focused and do it without dubious ideas. Use different sources of information to provide supporting arguments and substantial evidence. This will impress professors. For this section, 3 main paragraphs are enough. Discuss each idea or argument in a separate paragraph. You can even use supporting quotes where appropriate. But don't overcomplicate. Make your extended essay easy to read and logical. It's critical to stay concise, so if you aren't sure how to make your text readable, use our tool to get a readbility test. Following the plan you outlined earlier is very important. Analyze each fact before including it in your writing. And don't write unnecessary information.

Extended Essay Conclusion

Now let's move on to the final part of IB extended essay guidelines. In conclusion, focus on summarizing the main points you have made. No new ideas or information can be introduced in this part. Use conclusion as your last chance to impress your readers. Reframe your own strong thesis. Here you must show all key points. Do not repeat absolutely every argument. Better try to make this part unique. This will show that you have a clear understanding of the topic you have chosen. And even more professional will be recommendations of new areas for future research. One good paragraph may be enough here. Although in some cases, two or three paragraphs may be required.

Extended Essay Bibliography & Appendices

To write an impressive extended essay, you should focus on appropriate information. You must create a separate page for bibliography with all sources you used. Tip from us: start writing this page with the first quote you use. Don't write this part last or postpone.

In turn, appendices are not an essential section. Examiners will not pay much attention to this part. Therefore, include all information directly related to analysis and argumentation in the main body. Include raw data in the appendix only if it is really urgently needed. Moreover, it is better not to refer to appendices in text itself. This can disrupt the narrative of the essay.  

Extended Essay Examples

We have prepared a good example of an extended essay. You can check it by downloading it for free. You can use it as a template. However, pay attention that your paper is required to be unique. Don't be afraid to present all the skills you gained during your IB.

How Does the Second-Child Policy Affect China’s Sustainability and Environment
History and Anthropology
Paper type:
Essay (Any Type)
8.34 MB

Final Thoughts on IB Extended Essay

In this article, we presented detailed IB extended essay guidelines. An extended essay is a daunting academic challenge to write. It is a research paper with a deep thematic analysis of information. But we have described several practical and straightforward tips. Therefore, we are sure that you will succeed!

Can't write an extended essay?

If topics seem too complex, turn to our top essay writers. They will accomplish any IB assignment in the best way your professor can evaluate it!  

Article posted on:Apr 27, 2022
Article updated on:Feb 23, 2024


Leave your comment here:
6/20/2022 7:54 AM
Hi there! You recommended selecting the subject in which I feel most confident and which is most interesting to me. I decided to focus on economics. But here is the thing: I don't know what exact topic to choose. What are some good extended essay topics for economics?
6/22/2022 7:03 PM
Hi Meghan,

Try to look at current trends in the economy and make sure your topic is related. In addition, you can focus on the impact of the economy on the socio-cultural aspects of society. Here are examples of trending topics:

1. Small businesses: development during the COVID pandemic.
2. Natural monopolies: influence on the population's standard of living.
3. Sectoral aspects of youth unemployment and employment policy.
7/4/2022 5:26 PM
Hello! This article really helped me to connect the dots about writing my IB extended essay. First, I was struggling with reliable sources. But, guys, many schools give access to typically paid websites like EBSCO, JStor, NYRB. I often used these websites to gather information for my own piece. I strongly recommend sifting through the JStor and NYRB websites. The EE really opened my eyes to how many great resources there are!
7/4/2022 6:29 PM
Hi David,

It's a pleasure to be helpful. The resources you mentioned for an extended essay for IB are indeed reliable. Hope you received a high score.
8/1/2022 11:24 AM
Hi! I found a just perfect program at Princeton. But to enter, I must follow extended essay requirements excellently. What are the best tips to get an A in an IB Extended Essay?
8/1/2022 11:52 AM
Hi Claudia,

To get an A for an extended essay at IB, you should work really hard on your research. However, we have 3 key takeaways. Sincerely believe they would make your writing easier!

1. If you need to write an excellent EE to enter the university, consider choosing a topic that will be relevant to your future major. Honestly, you will find writing about your research process in your motivational college admission essay helpful.

2. Reading literature can be complex. But don't be afraid to ask your supervisor about the relevant content. Always integrate the advice you receive into your research. And in general, listen to the guidance of your supervisor as much as possible.

3. Write your first sketch as early as possible. Don't worry that you don't have a methodology or enough resources yet. Many ideas will come to your mind after you re-read your draft work with a new sense. Don't try to get your chapters to perfection in the first sitting.
8/1/2022 11:56 AM
Thanks a lot for your answer!